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Film Noir

Otto Preminger – The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)

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Description: Frankie Machine is a skilled card dealer and one-time heroin addict. When he returns home from jail, he struggles to find a new livelihood and to avoid slipping back into addiction. Read More »

François Truffaut – La Mariée était en noir AKA The Bride wore Black (1968)

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This Francois Truffaut thriller is based on a novel by William Irish (aka Cornell Woolrich), whose books had been adapted by Alfred Hitchcock on many previous occasions. Jeanne Moreau stars as a woman whose fiancé is nastily murdered by five men. Utilizing a series of disguises, the cool-customer Moreau tracks down all five culprits, sexually enslaves them, and then engineers their deaths. The ominous musical score was written by Bernard Herrmann, another frequent Hitchcock collaborator. The Bride Wore Black was initially released in France as La Mariee etait en Noir. — Hal Erickson Read More »

William Keighley – The Street with No Name [+extra] (1948)

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Quote:
In Center City, a housewife is murdered in a night-club by a gang of thieves. When a security guard of a bank is killed by the same gun during a heist, the crime becomes a federal offense under FBI jurisdiction. When the prime suspect is released and executed in the same night, FBI Inspector George Briggs recruits the rookie agent Gene Cordell to follow the last paths of the victim undercover in the identity of George Manly. Gene meets the powerful gangster Alec Stiles in a gymnasium, and later he is invited to join his gang. Working with his also undercover liaison Cy Gordon, Gene finds evidences to incriminate Stiles. However, he discovers also that somebody from the precinct is feeding Stiles with classified information. Read More »

Alexandre Rockwell – In the Soup (1992)

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Soup’ Dreams

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Essentially a retread of The Freshman (1990) on a much lower budget, In the Soup concerns a young wannabe filmmaker, Adolfo Rollo (Steve Buscemi) who becomes mixed up with a gangster-type, Joe (Seymour Cassell) in the name of financing his first film.

Very little filmmaking occurs, though. What really happens is the old story of the life-loving older guy teaching the high-strung younger fellow a thing or two about living.

Yes, it’s an old story that has been told a thousand times before and since, but Alexandre Rockwell’s little film has a home movie charm and a streetwise wit that make it a must-see sleeper. Read More »

John Huston – The Maltese Falcon (1941)

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Synopsis:
‘Spade and Archer is the name of a San Francisco detective agency. That’s for Sam Spade and Miles Archer. The two men are partners, but Sam doesn’t like Miles much. A knockout, who goes by the name of Miss Wanderly, walks into their office; and by that night everything’s changed. Miles is dead. And so is a man named Floyd Thursby. It seems Miss Wanderly is surrounded by dangerous men. There’s Joel Cairo, who uses gardenia-scented calling cards. There’s Kasper Gutman, with his enormous girth and feigned civility. Her only hope of protection comes from Sam, who is suspected by the police of one or the other murder. More murders are yet to come, and it will all be because of these dangerous men – and their lust for a statuette of a bird: the Maltese Falcon.’
– J. Spurlin (IMDb) Read More »

Alfred Hitchcock – The Wrong Man [+extras] (1956)

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Synopsis:
Manny Ballestero is an honest hardworking musician at New York’s Stork Club. When his wife needs money for dental treatment, Manny goes to the local insurance office to borrow on her policy. Employees at the office mistake him for a hold-up man who robbed them the year before and the police are called. The film tells the true story of what happened to Manny and his family. Read More »

Alexander Mackendrick – Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

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Synopsis:
‘J.J. Hunsecker, the most powerful newspaper columnist in New York, is determined to prevent his sister from marrying Steve Dallas, a jazz musician. He therefore covertly employs Sidney Falco, a sleazy and unscrupulous press agent, to break up the affair by any means possible.’
– David Levene (IMDb) Read More »